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The big map o the Caminos de Santiago

were i to do the Del Norte again

mike g

New Member
#1
I would have taken a bicycle. Not a tech 4k$ wonder of modern manufacturing but a nicely appointed $400 dollar Trek such as I have at home. No insignia bedecked, spandex tights hog the usb ports in the albergues, equipment laden miracle of modern efficiency for me. Just a nice bicycle. Why one would ask? Because the Del Norte is mainly pavement. More than a few that I met along the way complaining; in a nice way particularly those who had started in Irun "when is this going to be over''. I sustained an ankle injury three days before Baamonde and ended taking the train to Santiago via a Coruna from Baamonde. The continuous up and down coupled with the mostly pavement path was more than my 67 year old ankles could take. Were there any don't miss portions one could walk them and send their bicycles ahead, for about six bucks. I did my walking on the Frances in 2016 and am still warm in my heart from the experience. My focus this time had changed bit and I would have loved to do the side trips that a bicycle would have allowed. Remind yourself that the Del Norte is much hillier than the Frances and that much of it is on pavement. You can make plenty of friends just buy beer or snacks to share at the end of the day. Oh btw I'm walking the El Porto next year. big foot.jpg
 

SallyToms

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances to Muxia Oct 2016
Via de Plata to Caceres 2017
Portuguese 2017
Ingles 2017
#2
At times I wished for fluoro tops to wear, especially on the roads where there was nowhere to get off to the side. Or at least red or orange tops. All my clothes were dark and it was scary at times. And I agree with you that the walk would be at least 80% road walking, not good for my knees.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte ( Irun to Luarca), Camino Primitivo-Fisterra: April-May 2018
Via de la Plata 2019
#3
I did the del Norte this past April/May, and one of the things I did was to do as much research as I could on alternative routes. It is possible to eliminate significant chunks of pavement and replace them with sections of beach or seaside trail walking. Particularly when leaving Santander, there is a gorgeous seaside route that entirely bypasses what I am told is one of the more tedious sections of pavement. There are a number of websites and blogs that document these route alterations, and there are downloadable pdf’s that document some of them. In my experience they were well worth the time and effort.
It’s not possibble to eliminate all of the highway sections on the del Norte, but one can significantly reduce the total walked over the Spanish highway system.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#4
At times I wished for fluoro tops to wear, especially on the roads where there was nowhere to get off to the side. Or at least red or orange tops. All my clothes were dark and it was scary at times. And I agree with you that the walk would be at least 80% road walking, not good for my knees.
I recommend investing in a couple of inexpensive, neon colored, synthetic t-shirts or polo shirts at your local discount department store. In Europe, Carrefour or Tesco should do it. In the US, try Target (Champion C9 clothing) or Walmart. Yes, I know you would not normally wear these items at home everyday, but they do provide a margin of safety when on Camino. Buy the brightest neon like color your eyes can tolerate. Remember, when it is on you and you hoist your rucksack, you cannot see it. The key is being seen by others.

Personally I use bright, contrasting colored, synthetic tops by Underarmour. They do tend to pill a little after rubbing rucksack straps for a month or more. But, I usually wash them on arrival, then donate them at Pilgrim House. There is always someone who needs a shirt, albeit bright colored.

Originally, I advocated reflective tape and blinky LED lights for visibility. Then, I learned from subsequent experience, walking a Camino in crappy weather, that a stark contrast to the surrounding colored environment was all that you needed.

Hence, by adopting the neon colored top (t-shirt or polo shirt) you could combine solutions with no added weight penalty. Presently, I use a neon colored ball cap, reflective stripes on my walking poles, and a contrasting rain parka and poncho to provide visibility to drivers and equipment operators on the roads and paths.

Hope this helps.
 
#5
I did the del Norte this past April/May, and one of the things I did was to do as much research as I could on alternative routes. It is possible to eliminate significant chunks of pavement and replace them with sections of beach or seaside trail walking. Particularly when leaving Santander, there is a gorgeous seaside route that entirely bypasses what I am told is one of the more tedious sections of pavement. There are a number of websites and blogs that document these route alterations, and there are downloadable pdf’s that document some of them. In my experience they were well worth the time and effort.
It’s not possibble to eliminate all of the highway sections on the del Norte, but one can significantly reduce the total walked over the Spanish highway system.

TOTALLY agree, @david marquez. Not sure if you are referring to this thread, https://www.caminodesantiago.me/community/threads/coastal-alternatives-to-the-nortes-asphalt.49578/ but it is a good starting point for mapping out those alternatives. The Wise Pilgrim guide also has information about most of them. (Available in Ivar’s store).

The real downside of using a bike to avoid the asphalt on the feet is that it would make most of those coastal trails off limits — for instance, I cannot imagine a bike on the Ruta del Flysch out of Zumaia!
 

mike g

New Member
#6
I did the del Norte this past April/May, and one of the things I did was to do as much research as I could on alternative routes. It is possible to eliminate significant chunks of pavement and replace them with sections of beach or seaside trail walking. Particularly when leaving Santander, there is a gorgeous seaside route that entirely bypasses what I am told is one of the more tedious sections of pavement. There are a number of websites and blogs that document these route alterations, and there are downloadable pdf’s that document some of them. In my experience they were well worth the time and effort.
It’s not possibble to eliminate all of the highway sections on the del Norte, but one can significantly reduce the total walked over the Spanish highway system.
share the wealth post the links
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April (2018)
Camino Del Norte April (2019) possible Primitivo
#7
Camino(s) past & future
Camino del Norte ( Irun to Luarca), Camino Primitivo-Fisterra: April-May 2018
Via de la Plata 2019
#9
The 2 Pdf files I used extensively were:
North Coast Alternatives. By Laura Reynolds
The Northern Ways to Santiago (English version) published by the Basque Government
And I heavily relied on the following online blog:
https://magwood.me/

I also had the most current version of the Wise Pilgrim guide for both the Del Norte and Primitivo. Nothing is perfect, I got lost a few times, and I did miss a few opportunitoes to take alternative routes, but overall O was very pleased. I dont use and paper refernce material and mu iphone is my GPS. I was stunned to discover that my T-mobile mobile service with the international package provoded better coverage in Northern Spain than in the US!
My advice is look everywhere, but in particular sift through the magwood onlone blog..
It is full of good advice and links....particularly if you use a GPS package, which I did not.
One last tidbit...if you rely on electronics, as I do, it is wonderful to have a battery pack. I have one that weighs about 1 pound. It will charge 2 devices at once, and it will recharge a dead ipad over a dozen times. That will eliminate the hassle of trying to get a bed in the albergue every night within reach of a power outlet! Also allows you to recharge during the days walking if need be, or share with a needy peregrino/a!
 
#10
The 2 Pdf files I used extensively were:
North Coast Alternatives. By Laura Reynolds
The Northern Ways to Santiago (English version) published by the Basque Government
And I heavily relied on the following online blog:
https://magwood.me/

I also had the most current version of the Wise Pilgrim guide for both the Del Norte and Primitivo. Nothing is perfect, I got lost a few times, and I did miss a few opportunitoes to take alternative routes, but overall O was very pleased. I dont use and paper refernce material and mu iphone is my GPS. I was stunned to discover that my T-mobile mobile service with the international package provoded better coverage in Northern Spain than in the US!
My advice is look everywhere, but in particular sift through the magwood onlone blog..
It is full of good advice and links....particularly if you use a GPS package, which I did not.
One last tidbit...if you rely on electronics, as I do, it is wonderful to have a battery pack. I have one that weighs about 1 pound. It will charge 2 devices at once, and it will recharge a dead ipad over a dozen times. That will eliminate the hassle of trying to get a bed in the albergue every night within reach of a power outlet! Also allows you to recharge during the days walking if need be, or share with a needy peregrino/a!
David, I wonder if you could tell us which of the coastal routes you took and how you liked them, if you can remember that is. Always helpful to have specific info for people trying to decide which ones to try for. I haven’t gone back to Maggie’s blog,but my memory is that she took the E-9 where available, and then at Ribadeo she went totally off-Camino on the Ruta del Mar. That last part is definitely calling to me, and I’m glad to have her tracks available for whenever that becomes possible!

I would say my favorites of the coastal alternatives I posted were the Ruta del Flysch from Zumaia to Deba, the coastal route of Santander, and La Franca to Llanes. But there is really a LOT of competition for the favorites! Buen camino, Laurie
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013, 2016
#11
Wow, I walked from Lisbon two years ago so this past fall I felt like the Nortewas a pusscat comparatively as far as the road walking. Scarier and oh those cobblestones!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Norte
Finstr/Mux
Primitivo
Via la Plata
Sanabres
Portugues
Levante
Lana
Ingles
#12
I recommend investing in a couple of inexpensive, neon colored, synthetic t-shirts or polo shirts at your local discount department store. In Europe, Carrefour or Tesco should do it. In the US, try Target (Champion C9 clothing) or Walmart. Yes, I know you would not normally wear these items at home everyday, but they do provide a margin of safety when on Camino. Buy the brightest neon like color your eyes can tolerate. Remember, when it is on you and you hoist your rucksack, you cannot see it. The key is being seen by others.

Personally I use bright, contrasting colored, synthetic tops by Underarmour. They do tend to pill a little after rubbing rucksack straps for a month or more. But, I usually wash them on arrival, then donate them at Pilgrim House. There is always someone who needs a shirt, albeit bright colored.

Originally, I advocated reflective tape and blinky LED lights for visibility. Then, I learned from subsequent experience, walking a Camino in crappy weather, that a stark contrast to the surrounding colored environment was all that you needed.

Hence, by adopting the neon colored top (t-shirt or polo shirt) you could combine solutions with no added weight penalty. Presently, I use a neon colored ball cap, reflective stripes on my walking poles, and a contrasting rain parka and poncho to provide visibility to drivers and equipment operators on the roads and paths.

Hope this helps.
I made a very simple neon/dayglo color pack cover and sewed some reflective tape on it. (There are some really bright colors and great lightweight as well as waterproof fabrics available in fabric stores when hunting season is just around the corner...and after that they go on sale!) This helps with the problem of your pack covering most if not all of your bright shirt when traffic is coming from behind you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#13
I envy you your sewing skills.

For me, if I can't hammer a nail, or twist a screw to fasten something into place, and duck tape will not work, well, I am well and truly screwed. I can sew a button or mend a TINY tear. But, anything more and I am lost...

Your solution sounds brilliant. If the pack cover is waterproof or very water resistant (water beads up) that is even better. The reflective tape is an enhancement that most commercial pack covers to not have. I must consider that to add to my pack cover... as long as the tape is adhesive. Remember, I can't sew...

My Osprey pack, and most others, use a reflective paint for he logo placed on the pack cover. But that is not as effective as your approach.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
Frances
Norte
Finstr/Mux
Primitivo
Via la Plata
Sanabres
Portugues
Levante
Lana
Ingles
#14
I envy you you sewing skills.

For me, if I can't hammer a nail, or twist a screw to fasten something into place, and duck tape will not work, well, I am well and truly screwed. I can sew a button or mend a TINY tear. But, anything more and I am lost...

Your solution sounds brilliant. If the pack cover is waterproof or very water resistant (water beads up) that is even better. The reflective tape is an enhancement that most commercial pack covers to not have. I must consider that to add to my pack cover... as long as the tape is adhesive. Remember, I can't sew...

My Osprey pack, and most others, use a reflective paint for he logo placed on the pack cover. But that is not as effective as your approach.
Look in the bike equipment section of your local sporting goods store. They frequently have a variety of adhesive reflective tape.
The pack cover doesn't require a lot of sewing skills - I simply cut a large oval a bit larger than my pack and add extra to account for the depth. Then I sew a small seam in which I insert elastic. I tried a couple of times with old bedsheets until I figured out the oval that best fit my pack. It can all be done by hand if you don't have a sewing machine.
 

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Camino(s) past & future
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese.
#17
We walked it in May/June a few years ago. It poured on some days, was drizzly some others, and beautifully sunny on others. I carried a bright orange/yellow umbrella and it was useful not only for the rain and as a sunshade, but also as a safety device on the roads. But not too useful on a bike. But maybe a bike poncho in a bright fluorescent colour would achieve something similar.
 

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